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President Obama’s Re-Election Acceptance Speech

President Obama’s Re-Election Acceptance Speech

THEPRESIDENT: Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right todetermine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward. Itmoves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed thespirit that has triumphed over war and depression; the spirit that has liftedthis country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope — thebelief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are anAmerican family, and we rise or fall together, as one nation, and as onepeople. Tonight,in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road hasbeen hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, wehave fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United Statesof America, the best is yet to come. {{more}} Iwant to thank every American who participated in this election. Whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very longtime — — by the way, we have to fix that. Whether youpounded the pavement or picked up the phone — — whether you heldan Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard, and you made adifference. Ijust spoke with Governor Romney, and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on ahard-fought campaign. We may have battled fiercely, but it’s onlybecause we love this country deeply, and we care so strongly about its future.From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to giveback to America through public service, and that is a legacy that we honor andapplaud tonight. Inthe weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney totalk about where we can work together to move this country forward. Iwant to thank my friend and partner of the last four years, America’s happywarrior — — the best Vice President anybody could ever hope for –Joe Biden. AndI wouldn’t be the man I am today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20years ago. Let me say this publicly — Michelle, I have never lovedyou more. I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in lovewith you, too, as our nation’s First Lady. Sasha and Malia, beforeour very eyes, you’re growing up to become two strong, smart, beautiful youngwomen, just like your mom. And I’m so proud of you guys. But I willsay that for now, one dog is probably enough. Tothe best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics — — the best. The best ever. Some of you were new this time around,and some of you have been at my side since the very beginning. But all of youare family. No matter what you do or where you go from here, you will carry thememory of the history we made together, and you will have the lifelongappreciation of a grateful President. Thank you for believing all the way,through every hill, through every valley. You lifted me up thewhole way. And I will always be grateful for everything that you’ve done andall the incredible work that you put in. Iknow that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly. And thatprovides plenty of fodder for the cynics who tell us that politics is nothingmore than a contest of egos, or the domain of special interests. But if youever get the chance to talk to folks who turned out at our rallies, and crowdedalong a rope line in a high school gym, or saw folks working late at a campaignoffice in some tiny county far away from home, you’ll discover something else. You’llhear the determination in the voice of a young field organizer who’s worked hisway through college, and wants to make sure every child has that sameopportunity. You’ll hear the pride in the voice of a volunteerwho’s going door to door because her brother was finally hired when the localauto plant added another shift. You’ll hear the deep patriotism inthe voice of a military spouse who’s working the phones late at night to makesure that no one who fights for this country ever has to fight for a job, or aroof over their head when they come home. That’swhy we do this. That’s what politics can be. That’s why elections matter. It’snot small; it’s big. It’s important. Democracyin a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have ourown opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through toughtimes, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions,stirs up controversy. That won’t change after tonight — and it shouldn’t.These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty, and we can never forget thatas we speak, people in distant nations are risking their lives right now justfor a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast theirballots like we did today. Butdespite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America’sfuture. We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to thebest schools and the best teachers — — a country that lives up toits legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation,with all the good jobs and new businesses that follow. Wewant our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt; that isn’tweakened by inequality; that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of awarming planet. Wewant to pass on a country that’s safe and respected and admired around theworld; a nation that is defended by the strongest military on Earth and thebest troops this world has ever known — — but also a country thatmoves with confidence beyond this time of war to shape a peace that is built onthe promise of freedom and dignity for every human being. Webelieve in a generous America; in a compassionate America; in a tolerantAmerica, open to the dreams of an immigrant’s daughter who studies in ourschools and pledges to our flag. To the young boy on the South Sideof Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner. To thefurniture worker’s child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or ascientist, an engineer or entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a President. That’sthe future we hope for. That’s the vision we share. That’s where we need to go.Forward. That’s where we need to go. Now,we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. As it has formore than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It’s not alwaysa straight line. It’s not always a smooth path. By itself, the recognition thatwe have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock, or solve all ourproblems, or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus, andmaking the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward. But thatcommon bond is where we must begin. Oureconomy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over. And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. Ihave learned from you. And you’ve made me a better President. With your storiesand your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and moreinspired than ever about the work there is to do, and the future that liesahead. Tonight,you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us tofocus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am lookingforward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet thechallenges we can only solve together: reducing our deficit; reforming our taxcode; fixing our immigration system; freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We’vegot more work to do. Butthat doesn’t mean your work is done. The role of citizen in our democracy doesnot end with your vote. America has never been about what can be done for us.It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustratingbut necessary work of self-government. That’s the principle we werefounded on. Thiscountry has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. Wehave the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes usstrong. Our university, culture are the envy of the world, but that’s not whatkeeps the world coming to our shores. Whatmakes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diversenation on Earth — the belief that our destiny is shared; that this countryonly works when we accept certain obligations to one another, and to futuregenerations; that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and diedfor comes with responsibilities as well as rights, and among those are love andcharity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great. Iam hopeful tonight because I have seen this spirit at work in America. I’veseen it in the family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay thanlay off their neighbors, and in the workers who would rather cut back theirhours than see a friend lose a job. I’veseen it in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, and in those SEALswho charged up the stairs into darkness and danger because they knew there wasa buddy behind them, watching their back. I’veseen it on the shores of New Jersey and New York, where leaders from everyparty and level of government have swept aside their differences to help acommunity rebuild from the wreckage of a terrible storm. AndI saw it just the other day in Mentor, Ohio, where a father told the story ofhis eight-year-old daughter, whose long battle with leukemia nearly cost theirfamily everything, had it not been for health care reform passing just a fewmonths before the insurance company was about to stop paying for her care. I had an opportunity to not just talk to the father, but meet thisincredible daughter of his. And when he spoke to the crowd, listening to thatfather’s story, every parent in that room had tears in their eyes, because weknew that little girl could be our own. And I know that every American wantsher future to be just as bright. That’swho we are. That’s the country I’m so proud to lead as your President. And tonight, despite all the hardship we’ve been through, despiteall the frustrations of Washington, I’ve never been more hopeful about ourfuture. I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask youto sustain that hope. I’mnot talking about blind optimism — the kind of hope that just ignores theenormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. I’m nottalking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelinesor shirk from a fight. I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thinginside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, thatsomething better awaits us, so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, tokeep working, to keep fighting. America,I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made, and continue to fight fornew jobs, and new opportunity, and new security for the middle class. I believewe can keep the promise of our founding — the idea that if you’re willing towork hard, it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from, or what youlook like, or where you love — it doesn’t matter whether you’re black orwhite, or Hispanic or Asian, or Native American, or young or old, or rich orpoor, abled, disabled, gay or straight — you can make it here in America ifyou’re willing to try. Ibelieve we can seize this future together — because we are not as divided asour politics suggest; we’re not as cynical as the pundits believe; we aregreater than the sum of our individual ambitions; and we remain more than acollection of red states and blue states. We are, and forever will be, theUnited States of America. And together, with your help, and God’sgrace, we will continue our journey forward, and remind the world just why itis that we live in the greatest nation on Earth. Thankyou, America. God bless you. God bless these United States.